Millions of people in the U.S. suffer from chronic, ongoing hip pain which is often significant enough to interfere with the regular activities of daily living, not to mention limiting the opportunity for many recreational opportunities like hiking, biking and even strolling along the beach.
Simple activities like grocery shopping, getting dressed and even sitting at a desk can be affected significantly when the hip joints are diseased or damaged from traumatic injuries.
But the good news is, today there are many options to help relive hip pain and related symptoms. In part three, we’ll look at a few noninvasive options that may provide relief when hip pain is mild or the condition causing pain is relatively minor in nature.
Lifestyle changes lead the way
When it comes to managing hip pain without surgery, lifestyle is one of the most important things you can do. And of all the changes you can make, losing excess weight is one of the most critical.
Just like your knees, your hips are responsible for bearing all that extra weight all day long. And over time, the added load can take a toll on joints, especially the joint surfaces. People who are overweight are much more likely to develop arthritis as the joint surfaces wear down. They’re also more likely to have back problems which can also cause pain in the hips.
In addition to losing excess weight, being more physically active is also important, even for those who aren’t overweight. Today, many people spend countless hours in front of a computer screen, and that means the hip joint isn’t used much. As a result, the soft tissues surrounding the joint can become stiff, resulting in pain and decreased range of motion.
Being more active keeps the joint well lubricated and limber, and it can also improve circulation to the hip, which is essential for joint health.
The role of physical therapy
Of course, if you have hip pain, you should certainly be evaluated medically before embarking on any exercise program. Sometimes, increasing your physical activity helps to avoid damaging the joint further. For many men and women, working with a physical therapist can provide the perfect combination of increased physical activity and medical supervision necessary for improving joint function and relieving symptoms.
Physical therapy begins with an evaluation of the joint, followed by a customized plan of action that takes into account your overall health as well as your joint health and symptoms, and it relies on ongoing assessments to ensure your treatment is on track. Medications prescribes during therapy to make participation a more comfortable experience to relieve pain and inflammation.
What if nonsurgical intervention isn’t enough?
Sometimes, nonsurgical options just aren’t enough to relieve symptoms. At times, they may not be appropriate for the underlying cause of your pain. In those instances, surgical intervention can be the best option for relieving pain and stiffness and helping to restore function to the joint. In part four, we’ll look at a few of the state-of-the-art surgical options surgeons use today.